A municipal situated in the south central part of Sweden. It lies along the E18 route which basically stretches from Stockholm to Oslo, Norway, in fact, the route currently goes straight through the town.

The first written records of settlements in the area date from 1268, though the area has been inhabited since the stone age. The first dwellings were collectively known as 'Möckelns bodar' (originally Mykris bodhar), the name stemming from the nearby lake Möckeln (or Mykris if you will) and the word 'bodar'. The swedish word 'bod' means 'a simple house' or 'hut', 'bodar' is plural.

From early on there developed an extensive mining industry in the area, and high quality iron was produced in what is now knows as Karlskoga proper and the surrounding settlements. The area also had excellent waterways, facilitating transports of goods and to some extent people.

According to popular legend, Karlskoga got it's name from Karl IX of Sweden, who simply renamed 'Möckelns bodar' to 'Karls skogar' (meaning "Karl's woods") which later became 'Karlskoga'.

In 1586, the first parish was founded, and a church was built. This was also the 'official' founding of the actual town.

Karlskoga owe much of it's existence to wars, being a major producer of iron and, later on, steel. Especially during the 17th and 18th centuries the enormous war machines of Europe demanded an ever increasing amount of iron, which made the area relatively prosperous.

Also during World War II, Karlskoga and the largest company of the town, Bofors (at times the only significant company in Karlskoga), made their contribution to the mayhem with their 40mm Automatic Anti-Aircraft Gun.

With the basis for economic growth in the 'defence industry' (an euphemism for the business of making war machines and selling them to every concievable or, in some cases, inconcievable country), the economy has during the last relatively peaceful 10-15 years stagnated and gradually made way for smaller and more specialized businesses, many who still thrive on spin-offs of the defence industry.

The citizens of Karlskoga like to point out some remarkable things about the town:

Statistics

All figures from 2000

  • Population: 31,000
  • Land area: 471 km²
  • Inhabitants/km²: 67
  • Excess births over deaths: -118
  • Net migration: Men: -80, Women: -29
  • Number of very big cannons on top of hill, centre of town: 1

Sources: SCB Karlskoga Municipal Information 2001, municipal website ( http://www.karlskoga.se )

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